Protest rally in Limerick as abortion figures are revealed

Áine Fitzgerald

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Áine Fitzgerald

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aine.fitzgerald@limerickleader.ie

Protest rally in Limerick as abortion figures are revealed

Catherine Tracey with Ceire, Teddy, Iosaf, Maria and Louis Flynn, taking part in the Rally for Life last weekend PICTURE: Brendan Gleeson

A TOTAL of 226 women living in Limerick had an abortion in Ireland last year, new figures reveal.

According to the first Annual Report on the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, a total of 6,666 terminations were carried out in Ireland in 2019.

The report states that the number of terminations notified by women who listed Limerick as their place of residence was 226.

The figures relate to terminations of pregnancy carried out between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019.

Following the release of the report on Tuesday of last week up to 70 people of all ages gathered in Limerick city centre on Saturday for Rally for Life organised by Limerick’s pro-life movement. It was one of a number of such gatherings nationwide at the weekend. 

The participants stood at both sides of O’Connell Street holding pro-life banners.

One of those in attendance was Michael Ryan who was a candidate for Aontú in the Limerick City Constituency in both the 2019 local elections and this year’s general election.  It was his first time attending a pro-life rally.

“The publication earlier last week of the government figures on abortion last year in our Republic - 6,666 abortions - left me stunned and completely saddened. I, and I’m sure the other attendees, needed to express our abhorrence of these figures in some way - to do what the rally ‘said on the tin’- to stand up for the right to life of all and to give some witness, without judgement or recrimination, that there are people everywhere who care what happens to the unborn,” he said.

Mr Ryan who lives in Pallasgreen is the principal of Our Lady Queen of Peace primary school in Janesboro in the city.

“All of us who share these troubling concerns, and perhaps especially those who aspire to a role in political life, must be prepared to grasp this stinging nettle, to discuss hard truths with those who do not share our views, to consider partial solutions we might not have contemplated in the past, and to engage fully in creating a society whose members will only want to embrace new life. Nobody can claim the high moral ground on this or any other matter,” he said.

Meanwhile, Amnesty Ireland has welcomed that women and girls were able to receive abortion care within Ireland's health system.

In a statement, it said that to go from a country that exiled women seeking abortions two years ago, to one that is now caring for them at home, is “an important step forward”.

On May 25, 2018, the Referendum on the Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill (concerning regulation of termination of pregnancy) was held. The referendum passed, with 66.4% in favour to 33.6% against.

The main purpose of the Act of 2018 is to set out the law governing access to termination of pregnancy in Ireland. It permits termination to be carried out in cases where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant woman, including in an emergency; where there is a condition present which is likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before or within 28 days of birth; and without restriction up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Until 2018, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 regulated access to lawful termination of pregnancy in Ireland. Under that legislation, a termination of pregnancy could only be carried out to avert a real and substantial risk to the life of the pregnant woman.

Of the 6,666 abortions carried out in Ireland last year, 6,542 terminations took place in early pregnancy while 100 terminations were due to a condition likely to lead to the death of a foetus.

Twenty-one terminations were carried out under section 9 of the Act - where there is a serious risk to the life or of serious harm to the health of a pregnant woman.

The remaining three were carried out under section 10, where there is risk to life or health of the pregnant woman in an emergency.

The report shows there were 73 terminations notified by women living in Clare, 606 by women living in Cork, 174 by women living in Tipperary and 48 terminations notified by women living in Kerry.

The highest number of terminations -  625 - took place in January 2019.

The next highest was 602 in July of last year, followed by 592 in December  and 580 in May of last year.

The Pro Life Campaign said that when the figure of 6,666 abortions is added to the 375 abortions carried out on women from Ireland who travelled to England during the same period, the figure amounts to 7,041 in total.